Hello hello! I have been busy with travels, visitors and other lovely things lately, but now things are calming down here and I thought it's time I add some more to my HOW TO TRAVEL IN NORWAY ON A BUDGET-"series".
Today I will cover "How to travel inside the country on a budget".
Let's see. People normally fly into Oslo. From there you could either get a flight to another city or you could get on a train or a bus.
The standard prices to travel by train, plane and bus in Norway are steep, but there are ways to get a good deal and I am going to tell you how.
A train ride is something I will always prefer over a bus ride. It’s just more comfortable in so many ways. The added bonus to rail/road travel of course, is that you get to relax and enjoy the beautiful scenery on the way to your destination. The long distance trains from Oslo to Bergen, Oslo to Trondheim (via Dovre, not Østerdalen) and Trondheim to Bodø are train rides with stunning views. In fact, Lonely Planet published an article, saying the train ride from Oslo to Bergen might be Europe’s best train journey. And they also placed the night train in the summer, from Trondheim to Bodø as one of Europe’s 8 best night trains in another article, as the sun doesn’t set and you get to enjoy beautiful views all night long. (One recommendation is also to take the train ride of Flåmsbana Railway, more as an attraction than a means of transport, but it's really lovely.)
But in this post I mainly wanted to focus on the economic aspect, so I’ll just start with an example.
Standard ticket, Oslo – Bergen, adult, is NOK 815.00. (A little over €100)
Now, if you book a little ahead you’ll have no problems finding the so called “minipris” of NOK 249.00 (about €30) Same train, same seat, same timetable.
The concept of “minipris” states that you can go as far as you want for NOK 249.00. Meaning you can get a train from Kristiansand in the south to Bodø in the north (as far north as the trains go) for 249.00.
The standard price for this train ride would be NOK 1912.00 (€240), but book it in advance and pay only NOK 249.00!
Kristiansand to Bodø is about 1500 km and would take about 24 hours. I am just trying to make a point here. Trains are expensive, but if you want to travel far, make sure you get a minipris and enjoy a really good deal.
Another thing to keep in mind, is that a train ride can save you one night of accommodation (another thing that increases your travel spendings in Norway). Get the night train (there’s one for every long distance train line) and sleep on the train. Normally the night trains are old trains, and that’s also the ones with the most comfortable seats. You have the whole day in one city, get on the train, and arrive in another city the next morning. Perfect isn’t it?
Buy your tickets at the web of NSB (Norwegian State Railways).
If you prefer to hop on a bus, there are a few options. Again, curvy roads, mountains… I wouldn’t prefer it, but some people do. You have Nor-WayBussexpress with standard not-so-cheap prices, but then there’s Lavprisexpressen (low price express) where you can easily find tickets for just NOK 49.00, (€6) for instance from Oslo to Stavanger. They have comfortable buses with free internet. They don’t have as many routes as Nor-Way Bussexpress, but you definitely get a better deal there.
Now, if you prefer to travel by air, check out Norwegian.no for offers. They often have campaigns where you can get one way inland flights from NOK 149.00 + - (€18)
If you are going north, check out Widerøe’s airpass. Widerøe is an airline flying small planes all over Norway, and many in the north. In the summer, they always have this offer where you can pay a fixed amount, and then fly as much and often as you want during the time period you pay for. There are three zones, North of Norway, Mid-Norway or south. You pay either for 1 or 2 zones, or the whole country. The best value of this offer is in the northern half of Norway. There are many small airports, and large distances, so with this offer you can get to see a lot.
When you get to your destination, you might want to rent a car, cause that really is the best way to see stuff, both in “fjord-land” and the north. Again- large distances. Having a car is sort of mandatory if you want to see the good stuff a little off the main cities (basically all the photos I use in these posts are taken from a place I got to by car). And they are not cheap. But there is an economical option here too. Rent a Wreck. It isn’t quite as bad as it sounds, it’s just more “normal” older cars, not so fancy and not so new, but perfectly OK cars at a much cheaper price.
They don’t have offices everywhere, but if they have one where you want to go, it should be worth it to check them out. Here’s a map of their offices in Norway.
I think that should cover the "How to travel inside the country on a budget" fairly well. Please let me know if I have forgotten something, or if you have any questions or comments!